Here is a portion of a 2006 interview between David Belle and an anonymous American journalist that took place after David attended the screening of District B13 in New York. The incredible insightfulness of the information in this short article is only daunted by the fact that David’s answers, as presented here, are astonishingly un-circulated! In just a few words David answers some of the most widely asked questions in the worldwide Parkour community, and he also mixes in few other nuggets of Parkour history and passion that you may never have heard before. The insight you receive from reading this interview is sure to be substantial if not, at some level, eye opening.
What was it like coming to the film’s screening at the Tribeca Grand in New York last month?
It was better than I expected. At first, when we were walking through the streets of New York, we were alone, but when we showed up at the screening and saw all the kids jumping around, we were thrilled.
How did the filming go overall?
I enjoyed everything. Because it was my first movie, everything was so new and so exciting. Who knows, maybe after a few movies, I’ll be more blasé and more selective, but right now I’m mainly just excited because everything was so new. I want to keep on doing films as long as I can. There was a lot of exchange [between Belle and director Pierre Morel and co-star Cyril Raffaelli]. Cyril came up with ideas like going through the window and grabbing the rope. We implemented things from both worlds.
Did you sustain any injuries?
Nothing happened. Not breaking anything or hurting myself was a big achievement.
What does parkour mean to you these days, and what would you like to see happen in the future?
It’s something you have to do outdoors, and it’s something that cannot be stopped. It’s something to help be more open and free to the outside world, and not be invaded by the city’s infrastructure.
A good thing would be to have some kind of code, and come up with centers where you can train and practice. I’d like more organization than there is now, and to find places where you’re officially allowed to do it.
Why did you and Sébastien Foucan grow apart over the years?
We took two separate roads. Sébastien wanted to be on his own and do his own thing. Like any sport, such as a martial art, you have a base, and then it evolves into different disciplines. The same thing is happening to parkour, and that’s normal and natural.
My thing from the beginning is to have it be useful, and be able to help others. It’s about being efficient and getting there as fast as you can. If people want to do it more artistically or in a freestyle way, I have absolutely no problem with it — that’s the way it’s going to evolve. It’s not my style, but if it’s other people’s [style], that’s perfect.
Describe the role your father, Raymond Belle, played in your development as a traceur.
I started in the army as a fireman when I was 17 or 18 years old, but I was already ready physically, thanks to my father. I didn’t need it to learn more things. The physical aspects and having a strong will all came from my father — working super hard, and finishing what I started all came from him.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring traceurs?
Don’t be in a hurry. Take the time to build yourself, and get in good physical condition. When I started parkour at age 15, it was almost already too late. My dad was already doing the same jumps when he was 9 years old.
First, do it. Second, do it well. Third, do it well and fast — that means you’re a professional.